A Hitch in My Giddy-Up

Yep. I’m getting old. I have slight arthritis in my hips, and some mornings it feels as though they’re not going to support my weight for a few seconds there. Rather than a morning smoker’s hack (the sound of my mother’s made me a nonsmoker for life), I have a morning hobble and groan.

I’ve also been feeling a twinge in my knee of late. As with small sounds in my car, I keep ignoring it, hoping it will go away. Fingers crossed…

And bell peppers don’t agree with me anymore. That’s a shame, because I like them. But if I eat them, I know I’ll soon regret it.

And the more grey my hair becomes, the more kinky and unmanageable it gets. It seems I did not inherit my mother’s silky, lustrous silver tresses. I’ll probably be one of those unruly, witchy women, in appearance as well as in word and deed.

But even though I miss my 19 year old body, I don’t miss the 19 year old me. If all these aches and pains are the price I have to pay for a life well lived, full of lessons and experiences, then I’ll take it. I’ll take it and come back for seconds.

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A book about gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Life Begins at 50

I’ve spent much of my life fearing the passage of time. I wasn’t obsessed with the topic, but I didn’t want to get older, that was for sure. What a waste of energy that fear was.

First of all, aging is inevitable. All the plastic surgery and vitamins and exercise in the world isn’t going to stop it. We all have an expiration date. (And thank goodness for that! The planet is crowded enough.)

But here’s what kind of took me by surprise: I like myself a lot more than I did at 19. Granted, I wouldn’t mind having my 19-year-old body back, but if I had to be the person I was at 19 to achieve that goal, I’d turn down the offer.

At 19 I was on a hormonal roller coaster. I was desperate to be liked, and really concerned about what other people thought. I didn’t know where my life was going, and spent a lot of time comparing my insides to other people’s outsides. I wasted a lot of energy dwelling on how unfair life was, and trying really hard to get… where, exactly? What, exactly? I had no idea. All I knew was that things were supposed to be much, much better than they were. I don’t know where the ruler came from that I was using to measure my life, but I knew I was falling short, and therefore I was pretty miserable for the most part.

And then a funny thing happened. As I got older, I made a lot more mistakes. I learned a lot more lessons. I had a lot more experiences, and accumulated a lot more memories. And I came to realize that not only am I the sum total of all that stuff, but also I still have so much to look forward to! I now know that I’ll never be able to predict the path my life will take, but now that excites me.

Bring it on!

[Image credit: pinterest.com]
[Image credit: pinterest.com]

Come On, Get Happy!

I’m currently in the longest running good mood I’ve ever experienced in my life. Granted, the bar is set pretty low because I am prone to depression, but here lately it feels like the hills are alive with the sound of music. What can I say? I’m just happy. It feels fantastic.

I hope it’s not because I’ve been consuming more yogurt. I read about a study that says that increasing the probiotics in your system aids with depression. Apparently bad bacteria in your gut actually sends signals to your brain which alters your mood. Probiotics replace that bad bacteria with the good kind. I figured it was worth a try. But I hope there’s more to it than that. I’d hate to think I’m nothing but a vehicle that bacteria rides around in, and my outlook is dictated by who’s behind that gastrointestinal steering wheel.

Or maybe it’s just that it’s been extremely sunny here in Seattle of late. Vitamin D is good. The days are longer, and the world is in bloom. So is a distant yellow star in control of my attitude?

I prefer another theory. For the first time in my life I took a long, hard look at myself and determined what was making me miserable, and I then made a lot of long, hard scary changes. I’m not talking about changing my hairstyle, here. I’m talking about changes that took years and cost a fortune and were extremely high risk. I basically tore my life down to its very foundations and started over again in a new place where I know not a soul. I also started seeking out life experiences. I have been reinventing myself. And dare I say it? I like how I’m turning out.

So yeah. I’m happy. Whether it’s due to my own personal do-over, the sun, or to the bacterial warfare I’m waging in my stomach, or some combination of all three, I’ll take it. I’ll take it, and go back for seconds.

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[Image credit: yogurt-milk.com]

The Collage That Is My Life

Every one of us has life experiences, many of which we take for granted, but these experiences help shape us into the people we are. It’s like a very detailed puzzle or collage that, when put all together, forms a picture of you. No two images will ever be exactly alike, and that’s such a wonderful miracle when you think about it.

Here are some of the elements that are included in, or missing from, my picture.

  • I just tried lipstick, for the first time ever, at the age of 49. I’ve never tried any other type of makeup, and wouldn’t know where to begin.
  • I have never in my life paid for any type of television, and I don’t ever intend to.
  • I have traveled to 19 countries, and I hope to once again be able to travel in the future, because it’s my reason for being.
  • Through Kiva.org I have so far made 49 micro-loans to help change the lives of women in 39 countries.
  • I like to create fractals.
  • I love to write.
  • I’m much heavier than I would like to be.
  • I have a very high IQ.
  • I have never lived somewhere that has a dishwasher. I am the dishwasher, and I often go on strike.
  • I prefer most animals to most people.
  • Of all religious philosophies, Unitarian Universalism fits me best.
  • I have been rock climbing, parasailing, and snorkeling, and I’d love to do more of that. I’d love to go skydiving or ride in a hot air balloon, but could never justify the expense.
  • I’ve made some massive mistakes.
  • I can’t stand to have my belly button touched.
  • I’m extremely unlucky by American standards, but extremely lucky by global standards, and I try to be ever mindful of that.
  • My dogs love me.
  • Growing up, I lived in a tent.
  • I tend to laugh at inappropriate moments.
  • I have never owned a telephone that can access the internet or take a photograph.
  • I speak Spanish.
  • I’m half Danish, one quarter Irish, and one quarter French, yet I don’t speak any of the languages of my ancestors.
  • I am one of only three people in the United States with my last name.
  • One of my eyes is near-sighted, the other is far-sighted.
  • If I’m not paying close attention, I tend to stand on the side of one of my feet. The special shoe I wore as a toddler never broke me of this habit.
  • I snore.
  • I love to sleep.
  • More than anything, I want to live in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • I have never wanted children.
  • I find nothing as attractive as a healthy curiosity.
  • And I’m single!

I’d love to hear about your puzzle pieces.

Fractal Collage--Rainbow Star

This is a collage of several of my fractals. It’s called “Fractal Collage–Rainbow Star, and can be purchased in the form of a business card, poster, card or coffee mug here. Just sayin’.

Other People’s Photo Albums

You young people may not know this, but once upon a time, before digital photography, people used to collect photo albums. They would take up a great deal of space, and were usually only taken out for viewing when some friend or relative needed to be tortured.

Gazing at Great Aunt Mabel’s trip to Atlantic City in 1948 might be interesting for a few minutes, but not for an hour and a half. “Oh yes! That’s the seagull that attacked your poor Uncle Herman while he was trying to tie his shoe!” “And there’s our neighbor’s cat, Smokey. I wonder how that got in there?” Of course, Great Aunt Mabel finds this album fascinating, because it allows her to relive her experiences. To her, this is priceless. What price would you put on that seagull picture, though, if you’re honest?

And that got me thinking. What will become of all these photo albums once the older generations pass away? Will all those happy memories be left in someone’s attic to molder? Or will they simply be relegated to the landfill, covered up with rotting food and spare tires? I’d love to believe that they will be kept and cherished for generations, but somehow I doubt it. Just like the photos, memories will fade over time. Eventually people will not know who those people are, and what they are doing, and how important they are, and these bound representations of the best of someone’s life will evaporate into oblivion, or at most become a frustrating reminder that there are things about your family that you no longer know, and questions you should have asked while you could.

Maybe photo albums have life spans just like humans do.

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[Image credit: postcardcollector.org]

Blog Fodder–Finding Your Inspiration

Blog fodder is a term that a friend of mine invented, I believe, after we talked about ways in which I could come up with new topics on a daily basis. It’s not easy, and I’m amazed that I’ve been able to pull it off for 286 days straight. I’m rather proud of myself.

Now not a day goes by when I don’t think “blog fodder” at least once. I’ve begun carrying around a little notepad so that I can write down ideas. Many is the time when I’ve thought of something, neglected to write it down, and then promptly forgotten it, only to kick myself soundly about it later. So I also keep a notepad by my bed, because I’ll often think of things as I’m drifting off to sleep.

So what are good sources of blog fodder? The main one, for me, is new experiences. This is followed closely by new observations. I also look to the past for inspiration, discussing my travels and incidents that I remember which have impacted my life. Sometimes I’ll chime in on current events.

I have to confess that I’m also a shameless thief. Not in the plagiarism sense of the word. But if I hear a conversation that intrigues me in the grocery checkout line, for example, I’ll write about that. If a story I’ve heard on NPR while I’m driving to work makes me curious, off I’ll go in that direction. On desperate days I must admit I’ll go to Google Trends, Wikipedia, the dictionary, or even Facebook to spark my imagination. Once or twice I’ve sent out a desperate plea to friends and family for ideas.

When I started writing this blog I must admit that I had no idea how much it would expand my horizons and increase my observation skills. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Thank you for joining me on this adventure!

writing[Image credit: scrapbookladypages.com]

One of a Kind

I intended to start this blog entry by writing about snowflakes, a subject near and dear to any fractal artist’s heart. I was going to say that we’ve always been told that no two of them are alike, but then I thought about the absurdity of that statement. How the heck can anyone really know if that’s true? You’d have to look at every single snowflake that has ever fallen, and you’d have to be superhuman to do that, because most of them would melt before you ever got to them and…I’m digressing again.

I do that a lot. That’s part of who I am. And that’s the whole point of this entry. I can say with 100 percent certainty that no two humans are alike. We are all a product of our life experiences and our choices, and it would be impossible to duplicate those experiences and choices. I am who I am because of the people I’ve loved and the people who have loved me. I am a product of the things I have learned and the places I’ve been and the mistakes I’ve made and the luck I’ve had, both good and bad. I have a different set of skills and neuroses and abilities and problems and talents and quirks than any other person on the planet, living, dead or yet to be born. No one could possibly duplicate every single one of my successes or failures.

The enormity of that realization struck me as I was driving to my very unique job on a very unique road at 11:00 pm last night. What an amazing gift my life has been. What a mind-blowing amount of abundant variety makes up the human race. Life is a lavish luxury indeed. We should all revel in its richness.

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(Image credit: Energy.gov)